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Old May 17th, 2006, 11:37 PM   #1 (permalink)
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building templates...

Hey folks,

I'm looking for some advice. I'm planning on building a tele body or two this summer...it was my intention to use my american deluxe as a starting point for a template....and I was wondering if any of you guys could offer some advice in transfering dimensions to the template, with some level of precission.

My plan was going to be to remove all parts from face of my tele. The neck, pickguard, bridge, control plate, pickups, etc...

Once I did that, I would have a flat surface to trace the outline of the body...and then make a cut into the template material (probably some hardwood ply).


Where I draw a blank, is how to get the neck pocket, control route, bridge route, neck pup route, bridge holes etc transfered to the template...

I had the idea of getting tracing paper, and doing a rubbing of the body....then taking the paper, x-acto knife out the holes and trace the holes onto the template....

However, this seems to me, to be a sure-fire way to inject a large margin of error...and in terms of the neck pocket, that's the last thing I want.


Any suggestions are welcome!

-Frank

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Old May 17th, 2006, 11:47 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Guys, I realize this thread might be better off in tele-tech...so sorry for that and moderators, feel free to move it.

-F
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Old May 18th, 2006, 12:00 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Hey Frank,
In the old days - not so long ago really - what you describe is pretty much how a guy went about the process of making a template. Some good old fashioned drafting paper, a t-square, and a set of dail calipers along with some high school math and geometry and you could make a very accurate template for a Tele. I still have the ones I made this way almost 20 years ago which are very accurate and still get used regularly. These days there seem to be a bunch of templates available on ebay and elsewhere if you don't want to go to that hassle but you will have to know dimensions of the parts you indend to use and accept whatever level of accuracy the templates are made to. You'll also need access to a good drum sander and the ability to route the pickup cavities in your template (you can buy individual templates to do the cavities if you want).

All Teles are not created equal. Your American Deluxe body will bare no resemblence to a 1950s or '60s Tele if that's what you're after? If what you want is a new body for your ASTD neck then best to use that neck as a starting point because neck heel dimensions are all over the place.

There's a lot to this actually. Jig and fixture making is actually more difficult than making the guitars, so take your time and if you need help I'm willing to do what I can if you want to undertake this from scratch.

cheers,
david
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Old May 18th, 2006, 12:07 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidE
All Teles are not created equal. Your American Deluxe body will bare no resemblence to a 1950s or '60s Tele if that's what you're after?
David, thank you for the comments. I'm particularly intrigued by what I quoted above.

How is the american deluxe body different from a 50s or 60s Tele...because what I am after, biuild-wise, is a more traditional vintage tele.

Granted, the belly cut wont be taken into consideration...but 2 dimensionally, the front should be a basic tele shape? no?

-F
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Old May 18th, 2006, 04:39 AM   #5 (permalink)
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......... because neck heel dimensions are all over the place.
In my opinion that is not true. All Fender Telecaster necks have the same heel dimensions.

If you're building Telecaster body templates, you need one template for the body shape which should include pickup and control cavity routs and a separate template for cutting the neck pocket.

The most accurate way to make a body template is to use the body as a template. Here's how I would do it. In the following steps work with centerlines on the body, masonite and paper. The body centerline can be drawn on a piece of masking tape attached to the body.

1. Remove all hardware from the body including string ferrules unless your ferrules are the flush type. Lay the body on a piece of masonite and draw the outside outline.
2. Rough cut the masonite to within 1/8 inch of the line.
3. Tape the masonite to the back of the body with LOTS of double stick tape. Rout the template body shape using the body as a template. Use a flush trim bit.
4. Tape butcher paper or something similar to the front of the body and do a pencil rubbing to locate the pickup and control cavity routs. Cut out these cavity outlines in the paper.
5. Place this paper pattern on the masonite and draw the outlines of these cavities.
6. Drill and rough cut these cavities from the masonite leaving the lines. You should now have an accurate masonite outline template with rough cut holes for the pickup and control cavity routs.
7. Tape the template to the front of the body with LOTS of double stick tape. Rout the pickup and control cavity in the masonite template again using a flush trim bit. You should now have an accurate template for routing the body shape and pickup and control cavity routs.

See my Photo Gallery for pictures and text for making a neck pocket template.
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Old May 18th, 2006, 07:54 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Doesn't Stewart-McDonald sell plexiglass templates?
It just might be what you're looking for. It sure would save you alot of trouble.
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Old May 18th, 2006, 08:51 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Stew-Mac sells plexiglass pickup routing templates. The benefit of having pickup and control plate cutouts as part of your body shape template is you don't have to do accurate measuring to locate them on the body.

You can buy pre-made templates from guitarbuildingtemplates.com but the Telecaster templates are not an accurate representation of a Fender.

I haven't used Ron Kirn's templates but he says they were patterned from an early Fender Telecaster. I would probably buy his if I didn't already have mine.
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Old May 18th, 2006, 09:39 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Im still kinda curious to know what are the major differences between a modern tele and a vintage one...from my limited perspective, it seems that they are the same...
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Old May 18th, 2006, 10:14 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwells393
Stew-Mac sells plexiglass pickup routing templates. The benefit of having pickup and control plate cutouts as part of your body shape template is you don't have to do accurate measuring to locate them on the body.

You can buy pre-made templates from guitarbuildingtemplates.com but the Telecaster templates are not an accurate representation of a Fender.

I haven't used Ron Kirn's templates but he says they were patterned from an early Fender Telecaster. I would probably buy his if I didn't already have mine.
I'm using Ron Kirn's. They are really good, except I screwed one of them up trying to make a working copy template (never use the one you buy to work with, make a working copy, CHEAP insurance against screw ups which are inevitable). So I just ordered a second set.

Next time i'm making my working templates out of MDF, not masonite. I don't understand why you would buy plexi templates, unless they are cheap and expendable. I can understand why you would want to USE them, but not why you would want to BUY them. Buy masonite templates, and use the masonite templates to MAKE plexi working templates.


I tried making my own templates, w/ tracing paper etc., But jwells393 description has me rethinking my whole approach.


BTW that masonite brown hardboard is HECK on router bits (dulls them pretty fast), and router bits are expensive.
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Old May 18th, 2006, 12:05 PM   #10 (permalink)
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ain't no biggie....

The Tele Body over the years has experienced many subtle changes, the most obvious is the flat area where the jack plate is mounted and the upper horn radius into the neck, ¾ inch radius until CBS went to NC Routers and those bits were not available in the ¾ radius so they went to something like 1 ½ radius. Those are the bodies with no neck pocket notch. It is also the body the current Fender selected for the first reissue. When it was shown to the consultant Fender hired, his name was Leo Fender, he said, “WRONG!”

Those I have made were taken directly from a ’54 I had for a re-do…Did it with a pin router so it’s dead on. I eliminated the flat area so you could choose what year you wanted to duplicate, since it has been different sizes through the years, other than that it’s dead on.

One pain is that pickguards vary greatly even from the same manufacturer, you may have to buy a dozen to find one that fits correctly, and as a result I have started making my own.

Other than that, Fender parts fall in like it was made for ‘em, I guess the fact that it was made for ‘em has a lot to do with it.

Now go practice.

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Old May 18th, 2006, 12:54 PM   #11 (permalink)
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So, what if you make a plexi template of the body and get it to the exact fit. Then place the template over the top of the body, and put the stew-mac templates over the body template and line them up with the body cavities you can now see?

Would that work? or would stew-macs templates not line up with just any year tele?

Just a thought.
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Old May 18th, 2006, 01:28 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I'm starting to notice that every time I mention something about accuracy or dimensions varying from guitar to guitar (especially necks) the general opinion is that I'm wrong and parts just fit from guitar to guitar with problem at all. Just for the record let me offer that if two necks differ in the heel width by .010" that's not the same to me. They might both fit on the same body if the pocket is big enough, but .010" is a pretty big margin in my world.

It might help to know that my comments usually concern actual vintage Telecasters up to the mid-60s or so. I've worked on lots of newer ones but I don't measure them (maybe they're all "the same"...but I don't really believe that. However, I do have a list of pertinant dimensions and details from nearly 100 pre-CBS Teles that have come through my shop in the last fifteen-plus years and to say they "vary" is an understatement.
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Old May 18th, 2006, 08:18 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Or You Can Make a Template by Following Body Routes

I placed a piece of masking tape along the outside perimeter and the inside routes of a MIJ 62 Esquire body, clamped a 1/4" thick piece of masonite to the body and, using a hand-held router with a bearing below the cutter, made my own front and back templates. (I also used a drill press for the string-through holes.) I used the set to make a mahogany thinline body, and attached a 1969 MIM thinline neck -- it came out fine. (I also bought a set of templates from Ron, which are well-made, and now have a collection of templates!)
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Old May 18th, 2006, 08:24 PM   #14 (permalink)
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jkats ................what was the purpose of the masking tape?
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Old May 18th, 2006, 08:27 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Good Question

I put tape around the body so that the bearing won't damage the finish as the router bit follows the body to cut the masonite.
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Old May 18th, 2006, 10:31 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Figure out this one.....

There are a multitude of issues that can alter the dimensions, but the main items are, operator skill, actual size of the router bit, and amount of finish on the body being traced, or accumulated on neck heels and/or inside the neck pocket.

Warmoth and USACG necks and Bodies are shaped with Computer controlled shapers, as are Fender’s. But Ken and Tommy cut them for a precision fit. This tight tolerance will not allow for much lacquer on either the neck heel or inside the neck pocket. Fender tends to adjust the computer a few thousandths to allow for quickie assembly on the line with no messing around to get ‘em to go together. Fender in the 50’s and 60’s did do the hand work to get them together which is why there can be considerable variations from one guitar to another on the vintage specimens.

So, if you use a Warmoth body as a pattern to make a template and your router bit is not “dead on” accurate the resulting cut can be either too large or too small. It just depends on the bit.. one company’s ½ inch may not be the same as another’s.

Now, if the bit has been professionally sharpened just once, the neck pocket will be about .002 too small so if you have a Warmoth neck, it ain’t gonna fit…..not without some sanding… and if that neck has the ubiquitous urethane finish, it will be over 1/32 inch too large….and much cussin’ will fill the room. Urethane is almost always thicker than lacquer. Now. . . .If during finishing you have allowed paint to accumulate inside the neck pocket, the neck is going to appear almost 1/16 too big. More cussin’….. and probably scratchin’ the head…

If the router bit is not a high grade precision tool, and the cutting edge is say .002 (‘bout the thickness of a fine hair) to large, the neck pocket will also be too large, but in most cases this works out pretty good because of the thickness of the lacquer.

But say you use the same bit to make a neck template from an old neck, and it has been lacquered, the template will be about .005 off. Use that template to make a neck and things will be magnified….., thus things aren’t going to work out.

Multiply all this crap by the fact that ambient temperature and humidity in the shop can make the neck and body swell or shrink easily a few thousandths and you can see why luthiers drink a lotta Scotch.

Here's another little factor for the equation. . . two necks from the same manufacturer can vary by a few thousandths too.. so… hang on and take your time…… The whole idea is to complete a great guitar without it having that classic Homemade piece of ****** look.... just don’t forget the Scotch..

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Old May 18th, 2006, 10:46 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frank6v6
Im still kinda curious to know what are the major differences between a modern tele and a vintage one...from my limited perspective, it seems that they are the same...

There's a significant difference in the bridges. The Am. Std/Se guitars have string-through and mounting holes that are incompatible with the Vintage three-saddle bridges.

The two aren't interchangeable...


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Old May 18th, 2006, 11:59 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Murphy
Quote:
Originally Posted by frank6v6
Im still kinda curious to know what are the major differences between a modern tele and a vintage one...from my limited perspective, it seems that they are the same...

There's a significant difference in the bridges. The Am. Std/Se guitars have string-through and mounting holes that are incompatible with the Vintage three-saddle bridges.

The two aren't interchangeable...
Thats actually, not what I was driving at. I would most likely fit the bridge to the body, as per the bridge. Whatever bridge I decide to employ, will go on the body correctly.

My interest in using the am-Se Deluxe body was to get the body outline shape, neck pickup cut, bridge pickup cut and the control cut in the right place....

However, Ron's post has scared the crap out of me...I'm wondering if just grabbing a warmoth body might be the way to go! lol
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Old May 19th, 2006, 09:23 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by frank6v6
However, Ron's post has scared the crap out of me...
What scares the crap out of me is Ron's recommendation of scotch (and beer in the instructions) I'm clumsy enough without pharmacological enhancement.
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Old May 19th, 2006, 09:53 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Nothing like some scotch, a table saw and a table router to ruin your day!
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